STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (26-1) made 14 of 20 free throw attempts in the fourth quarter in a 78-65 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's basketball tournament semifinal victory over #5 Albertus Magnus College (18-8) at the Harold Alfond Center on Thursday evening.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the GNAC Championship for the third-consecutive season – and fourth time in the last five years – and will host #3 Suffolk University, which upset #2 Emmanuel College, 73-68, in other semifinal action tonight, in the title bout on Saturday at 1:00 PM.
The loss signals the end of the 2017-18 season for Albertus Magnus.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The semifinal matchup was much closer than the 13-point winning margin would suggest, as the game featured 13 lead changes and nine tie scores and neither team held a lead of greater than six points until the final two minutes.
With the contest tied at 61-61 and 3:29 remaining, the Monks netted six unanswered points to grab a 67 lead with 1:50 left. Albertus junior guard Kiki Epps (Norwalk, Conn.) scored four points off a layup and a pair of freebies to offset a Hannah Marks (Waldoboro, Maine) baseline jumper, making it a 69-65 game with 32 seconds on the clock.
As it played out, Saint Joseph's put the game away at the free-throw line, as the hosts made nine of 10 shots from the line – effectively scoring the game's final nine points – in the final 25 seconds of play.
STATS OF THE GAME:
The Monks scored 28 points off 25 Albertus turnovers and committed 15 miscues – off which the Falcons netted 15 points – and registered 18 assists on 24 field goals in the victory.
The Falcons held a decided 37-25 rebounding advantage and thusly held the lead in second-chance points (12-0) and points in the paint (26-18) in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph's has now won 25-consecutive games and enters the GNAC Championship having won 36-consecutive home contests.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Junior guard Kelsi McNamara (West Newbury, Mass.) scored a game-high 31 points – including 16 in the fourth quarter – with five assists and five rebounds while shooting 10-12 from the FT line
- Junior guard Julia Champagne (Brunswick, Maine) tallied 16 points, five boards, and three assists
- Junior forward Emily Benway (Rochester, N.H.) added 12 points and a pair of caroms
- Marks chipped in with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a pair of steals
LEADERS – ALBERTUS MAGNUS:
- Senior forward Olivia Bolden (South Windsor, Conn.) netted 21 points with seven rebounds and reached the 2,000-point plateau with her second basket of the game early in the first quarter
- Epps added 15 points and seven boards
- Senior guard Angelina Piccirillo (Naugatuck, Conn.) contributed 12 points and four rebounds
- Junior guard Jill Johnson (North Haven, Conn.) chipped in with eight points, five assists, three caroms, and three steals
With the victory, Saint Joseph's remains undefeated (15-0) all-time versus Albertus Magnus College, a team the Monks defeated by a 74-39 margin in Connecticut earlier this month.